Entries in around the world in a lifetime (30)

Friday
Jul122013

Virginia Beach, for a hot minute.

It was hot, and I was not at the beach, but!

These two happy pea pods done got murried!!!

Bypassing the cancelled flight to VA Beach resulting in a 9 hour Amtrak fiasco (wherein I met the sweetest but possibly most co-dependent elderly lady who believed every train stop for five hours was for Newport News, bless her little bewildered heart), I arrived safely in Virginia Beach last weekend, and had a whirlwind of a wedding experience before high-tailing it (or, low-tailing it, as my plane back to NYC was delayed about 3 hours) back home.

Run-on sentences aside, the weekend was short and sweet. Long ago like 4-5 years ago I used to schlep from Raleigh up to Norfolk to draw with these awesome buddies of mine every two weeks or so. It's so rad that we've kept in touch and I'm so, so happy that we got to spend this crazy awesome day together! The bride and groom requested in lieu of wedding gifts for their artist-friends (bewildered and honored that this includes me) to make fun portraits, soooo here's my humble offering:

Everyone's portraits were fun and silly and crafted lovingly for the Mr and Mrs! This was also my first Filipino wedding, so there were a lot of traditions in the ceremony and reception that I had never seen before INCLUDING:

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. Apparently this crispy porker is called "lechon" and I wanted this lady in her spangly dress and pig-chopping skills as my wedding date for the next however many weddings I ever go to in my lifetime.

The wedding was at The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, and was very beautiful and perfect for a wedding. No, that's not a yoga mat. I'm so stoked for these two!!

Also posting to say hey, new art and new skateboard decks are comin', I'm working on some new stuff I can't wait to show you guys, but I've been traveling every weekend for the past 3 weeks and I just want to sleep for a year. Or at least this whole week. 

As a teaser for the next post, Nina and Adam also spent part of their honeymoon with us...here:

Much love, till next time,

ktg.

Sunday
May052013

Girls Trip: San Francisco!!

Hey y'all! I'm back from SF, which I feel is an awful lot like NYC if everybody CALMED THE FUCK DOWN was more easygoing and didn't graffiti every possible surface. Like, no joke, I got on the subway from the airport to go home and there were teenagers graffiti-ing the subway right in front of me as I sat there cursing teenagers because I'm actually a million years old.  San and Sarah are two of my greatest pals who I don't get to see too often because we live apart from each other, and we have been planning a girls trip for some time now; I'm so happy we got to spend time together!

I have about a million pictures of my trip up on my flickr, but for the most part, I can summarize my trip in about 3 kinds of experiences:

SAN FRANCISCO IS GREEN AND PRETTY

We never got to go on one of these, but they were pretty awesome to see in person! I'M A TOURIST.

Union Square Park!

Walking to eat lunch by the Bay Bridge--my favorite photo from our trip!! <3 Besides the 309238409283048923 sticker pictures, we'll get to those, hold up.

Golden Gate Park!

 

We stepped outside the amazing City Lights Bookstore to find the Transamerica Pyramid. I'M A TOURIST.


I ATE A LOT OF REALLY GOOD THINGS IN SAN FRANCISCO.

 

Salami & Spinach Sandwich Special (I LOVE ALLITERATION) from Boccalone, at the Ferry Market.

Meatball Bahn Mi and Sweet Potato Fries from Bun Mee, in Pacific Heights!

Clam Chowder Bread Bowl from Boudin in Fisherman's Wharf.

Pork Ribs at To Hyang, I can't even explain how perfect this meal was--top three meals I've ever had in my LIFE. IT IS THAT GOOD.


I LOVE MY FRIENDS VERY MUCH AND WANT TO BE WITH THEM ALL THE TIME

AW YISSSS.

San and Sarah on our INTENSE SPIRAL ESCALATOR ROLLER COASTER RIDE

We each saved up an embarrassing amount of money to take as many possible sticker pictures as we were able to. We don't have hardly any pictures of us all together, so I am hoarding and treasuring and crying every night over these little guys.

One of the days I was in SF, I met up with my friend Iris and Dani, the former who lives near SF and the latter who was visiting the same time as us! ALL MY FRIENDS, SURROUNDING ME <3 <3

Girls Trip = SUCCESS!!

I don't go on many trips for fun; usually it's to visit family or to go to a convention to work, so it was great to not only take some time off, but to spend that time with two gals who I love very much and never get to see in person, let alone all of us together. When I was growing up, I didn't have a lot of gal pals (or friends in general, let's be honest, teenager!Katie) and so it was nice to have REAL TALK and fun with San and Sarah. All three of us have some big changes in our lives coming up, and I'm glad we can talk about it and afford the time and days to go on an annual trip! And I did say annual...I hear Disneyworld calling to us in 2014! Whoop whoop!!!

Wednesday
Apr032013

Wait, it's April?

Oh man, two "here's an update" blogs in a row--blogfail. -___-;; Sorry guys, I'm more in touch with my time management lately, and I'm happy to be regularly blogging again! Also, as the con season looms in the distance-that-is-much-closer-than-I-want-it-to-be, there's a lot more art happening in Katieland. 

A preview, if you will:

So, yeah...progress?? (I promise all my artwork isn't Dia de los Muertos related) Expect some more in-progress screencaps and photos in the future. I'm hoping to make between 2-5 new skatedecks and 10 new prints for this con season, and opening my etsy store again. THE FUTURE: SO AMBITIOUS.

Ah, man, so much has happened since last time!! I'll try to condense into some half-assed categories. The first one being

 

PLACES THAT I HAVE BEEN TO THAT WERE PRETTY AWESOME

Because THIS PAST WEEK I WENT TO THE GAME OF THRONES EXHIBITIONNNN:

I KNOW RIGHT AUGH FEELINGS EVERYWHERE. There was a world-wide tour of props, costumes, etc from Game of Thrones, and even though it was an hour long wait in line (some people I heard waited in line for up to 3 hours on the weekends!), it was totally worth it! And free! Who said you can't do anything cool for free in New York City?? (probaby me before this exhibition) I have TONS more photos up in my flickr!

 

I also had the opportunity to go on a little weekend getaway (WITH JOON TOO) to the Poconos Mountains--a co-worker pal's family owns a cabin up there and Joon and I had a great time in the snow.

 

 

 

In that last photo, there might have been some whiskey and Just Dance 4 involved. I have a new appreciation for adult-sized onesies with drop crotch. No, for serious.

 

The next category kind of combines with the first which is now
I AM A BOOK NERD ESPECIALLY IN THE WINTER WHEN IT IS COLD

I went to TWO book-related events within the past couple of months, and got to see / meet two of my big time favorites.

First up was John Green and Hank Green at the Evening of Awesome in Carnegie Hall!

(Source: Enteriainment Weekly)

 

OF WHICH ALL MY PHOTOS WERE USELESS AND I NEED TO GET A NEW CAMERA I KNOW GUYS WHAT EVEN. But I'll just go on record here and say that it was one of the greatest nights of my life. The Fault in Our Stars is easily my favorite book of 2012, and what an amazing night to celebrate it, and Nerdfighteria. Luckily, the ENTIRE THING is up on youtube, so maybe you can check it out for yourself! Special appearances by Hannah Hart, The Mountain Goats, and NEIL FUCKING GAIMAN ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

 

SPEAKING OF NEIL GAIMAN the other very fantastic book event I attended was an author / illustrator signing of the children's book Chu's Day, written by Neil and illustrated by Adam Rex! The event took place at Books of Wonder, an independent childrens and young adult book store near Union Square. GUYS. GUYS GUYS GUYS.

NEIL GAIMAN SIGNED MY COPY OF AMERICAN GODS OH NO SOMEONE CATCH ME I'M FALLING. I read American Gods as an impressionable youngster and again as a jaded granny-like person and both readings have had a profound affect on me and how fiction has shaped my world view and readership. Seeing Neil a SECOND TIME--and then getting to speak with him and share some laughs--was one of the highlights OF MY LIFE. I was so nervous--I have a thing where I get very anxious to meet people that I very much admire, because of how soul-crushing it is if you find out they're not what you thought they were in real life. But, Neil was so polite and funny and generous, everything beyond my expectations! He and Adam Rex apparently stayed to sign books all day, for thirteen hours with almost no breaks! Go go fight fight Neil and Adam!!

Speaking of books, I have read almost 16 this year to far, and some of the highlights were The Stand by Stephen King, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, and Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, the third and final book of his Chaos Walking Trilogy that SHIFTED THE PLANES OF THE UNIVERSE OF MY LIFE. Holy moly, I had to reevaluate my emotional intake after that one--so, so powerful and meaningful and thoughtful. If you've noticed, I have CLEVERLY linked to the goodreads synopsis / page of each of these books to show that, yes, I am super active on goodreads, and please friend me if you'd like!! I love comparing books that I have read with others and every book that I have read this year has been on the recommendation of someone else on goodreads!! BOOKS <3

And I suppose this sort of combines with the previous topic as well but lastly

I AM LIKE MAYBE ONE STEP ABOVE A CULINARY AMATEUR

So, as I've shown here before, I've been cooking a lot more for myself these days, but the past couple months in particular I've been having a lot of get-togethers at my house where I've been making and preparing foods for my friends. It's one of my favorite things to do, and it gets people to come over to my house without having to change out of my pajamas! One of my first get-togethers was for a book club meeting for the book Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline--It featured Mario-themed cookies, a rubix cube made out of cheese, and Pac-Man pizzas! Also deviled eggs, to represent the hunt for the Easter egg in the book.

GOD DAMN I LOVE A THEME PARTY, DON'T YOU!?

The following are some of my "firsts" in the food cooking and prep arena:

My first original creation! (A bacon-wrapped egg and cheese sandwich OH GOD CARDIAC ARREST)

My first pork tenderloin (DELICIOUS)

MY FIRST SALAD (I'm really, really not into salads, but this one had bacon and chicken in it so, you know)

My first vegetable tray! (Silly, but this made me so happy. I felt like my idol MARTHA STEWART. DO YOU NEED AN INTERN OR SOMETHING, MARTHA?!)

I'm running low on my index of recipes, so if there's something you like to make to eat that you think I would love too, please share with me!! What do you make on a busy weeknight?? Or, what do you make when you have pals coming over and need to feed a bunch of people? I am very open to suggestions!

Oh man, this is the longest post in the history of the world, I congratulate you if you got through it all! I've had a very fun and lovely few months, and I'm ready to bring you all along in the future. HOLD ME TO IT, FRIENDS. Leave me a comment on my blog or facebook page if I'm not blogging enough--it'll keep me on my toes! Til next time!

Sunday
Sep302012

Hounds on the Sound 2012 (or, DOGGIES EVERYWHERE ZOMG)

I JUST HAD THE BEST DAY EVER, GUYS.

BECAUSE I WAS SURROUNDED BY DOGS.

 

SO MANY DOGS.

 

For a few months now I have been volunteering at the New Rochelle Humane Society, an amazing no-kill shelter in New Rochelle (obviously). I found Joon and fell in love with her at this shelter, and I have always wanted to volunteer and give back to NRHS for giving me what is possibly the greatest source of joy in my life who just farted next to me as I'm typing this.

 

Now that I'm at least in the same state as the shelter, I've been going up once a week or so to help walk and give the dogs some human interaction. I have particularly bonded with a dog named Annie May—you'll probably understand why when you see her:

 

 

She's basically a Joon look- and act-alike with a head about 2x as wide. However, unlike Joon, she likes to be around other dogs (especially little dogs, it's so cute, I can't even). So, for the annual Hounds on the Sound walk-a-thon at Glen Island Park, I volunteered to help walk dogs, and I was ecstatic that I was given a chance to walk and be with Annie May all day long, and try to talk to her up and hopefully get her adopted!

 

I woke up Sunday morning at some ungodly hour and made the early morning train up to New Rochelle. It's about a fifteen minute walk to the shelter, so I grabbed a coffee before heading in—I needed a little pep to my step to make sure I stayed alert and aware of my dog at the event. There were going to be hundreds of dogs in attendance, and I was confident that Annie May would be great as always, but I didn't know all these dogs she was interacting with and needed to give my A game—the goal was to show Annie May off in the best light possible so that someone out there finds her as irresistible as I do and gives her a forever home!

 

Annie May was bathed before I got there and smelled like dishsoap. I gathered her leash, her “adopt me” vest (which was too small so I had to make some adjustments, IT'S OK TO BE A LITTLE CHUNKY, GIRL) and her treats and food. Lookin' sharp, girl!

 

 

 

Al, another volunteer, drove me and Annie May to Glen Island park, which I had never seen before. It is a beautiful island, and it was a gorgeous day to be outside. I yanked a pretty pink bandanna and she was looking so beautiful!!

 

 

 

 

 

After about 2 hours of milling around and looking adorable, Annie May and I walked over to the starting line of the walk-a-thon. It was about a 1.5 mile walk, but I was 100% certain that we were only going to walk a little bit. Annie May is freaking lazy gets tired pretty quick and really just wants someone to sit with her and lean on them and get pets from everyone. But, because it was a walk, I thought we would at least give it a try.

 

This guy had it easy though:

 

We met up with another walker from the shelter who was walking a dog named Rainn who is another favorite of mine. Rainn was not really sure though how to walk in a straight line.

 

 RAINN, YER DOIN' IT WRONG.

 

 

 

 

But for the most part, they walked so cute together!! Joon doesn't like other dogs, so it was a really new and fun experience for me to walk dogs together. They looked like adorable bffs! I was smiling the whole way while taking in the scenery.

 

Along the way we came upon a little beach area, and lots of dogs were jumping in the water. I wasn't sure if Annie May liked the water, so we walked down there and she went right into the water!

 

...and then QUICKLY EVACUATED ONCE THE WAVES STARTED ROLLING IN AND CHASING HER. Hahahaha, I'm laughing to myself right now just thinking about it! We stayed and watched the waves and the other dogs playing in the water.

 

 

 

Back on the trail, we went about a quarter of a mile total before Annie May decided that she was DONE-ZO and veered off the path to a patch of grass where she laid the hell down and rolled onto her side. THE WALK WAS OVER, SAYS ANNIE MAY.

 

 

We sat on the grass for awhile before heading back to the tent areas where someone had set up picnic tables and food. There was a DJ and lots of families with their dogs enjoying the nice weather!

 

This guy was pretty spoiled!

 

Annie May met a lot of new and old friends and I know that I was asked a lot of questions about her; her age (4-5 years), her breed (pretty pittie!), if she likes cats (NO), if she likes other dogs (YES). A few inquired about coming down to the shelter to see Annie May, so I am hopeful that maybe one of those people could be her forever home. She won a lot of people over with her calm, mellow disposition (a lot of dogs were going crazy bananas with all the activity going on, which just made Annie May look even better, YES, YOU MAJESTIC, REGAL PRINCESS DOG).

 

 

Even though I want desperately for her to be adopted, I know that the people at the New Rochelle Humane Society love on her constantly, and make sure that she is interacting with people all the time. So, even though she is not adopted yet, at least she IS very well taken care of and gets constant attention. She is an incredibly good listener and will sit before she eats and goes out the door every time, because they have trained her to be a good, adoptable dog! I know that when Annie May DOES find her forever home, it will be a bittersweet day for all the people at the shelter. She is like the unofficial mascot!

 

Uncle Al loved on Annie May even while driving (NOT RECOMMENDED, BUT STILL ADORABLE).

 

I really encourage you, if you can spare some time, and if you love animals as much as I do, to volunteer your time at a local shelter. It's basically a natural anti-depressant! In a no-kill shelter, some of the dogs are there for a really long time (Annie May has been there since last November), and even though the staff provides food and water and shelter it's up to the volunteers a lot of the time to simply provide fun and love and human interaction, which is so important to these dogs.

 

The shelter staff tell me that about two years into her “residency” at the shelter, Joon was very very depressed—she wouldn't eat much, or drink much, or do much of anything at all. Dana, the shelter manager, told all the staff and volunteers to make sure that Joon was taken on lots of walks, to make sure she was given lots of attention, and that she needed a little extra love. I'm so, so grateful to NRHS for not losing faith in Joon. Because, even though I love going on walks and playing with the shelter dogs, it is good to know that I can come home to this:

 

 

That's all for now! As always, more photos from Hounds on the Sound are up on my flickr. Hope I started your week with a dose of adorable awesome!

Friday
Sep212012

Awkwardly Running for my Life: The Long Island 10K

I know this is a long time coming but I finally have what I wanted to show you guys, which is the official photo of May and I from my first road race, the Long Island 10K!!


HELLO CHEESY YET UNDENIABLY EXPENSIVE OFFICIAL PHOTO.  Major major love and thanks to my friend May, runner pro and #1 encourager and inspiration, for running this first race with me.

I had never taken part in a race before, so everything I’m going to say here is probably really typical if you’re used to doing races. If you are familiar with road races, PLZ EXCUSE MY REDUNDANCY TO YOUR AWESOME, but for those who haven’t experienced a race before, hopefully this is as NEW and INTERESTING to and also a little scary to you as it was to me!


The day before, we had to go pick up our racing bibs at this .. sports fair thing?

So, there were a ton of vendors and reps from other races and running groups at this fair, a giant tent that was full of racers there to get their bibs. We got a bunch of free stuff like 5 hour energy drinks and these cardboard-tasting fiberific energy bars, and also our free T-shirt for the event!

(It is made of that dry-fit stuff so sweat doesn’t stick to you! but mine does anyway because I’m a beast of sweat.)

Also, May got a giant cupcake the size of her head.


By this time I was frightened as fuck pretty anxious--even though I had been training for months, I wasn’t really at the time that I had wanted (11 minute mile).  I would get really tired and discouraged over hills and stuff, and I think the general scared-ness of my being really played into my naturally pessimistic nature and I got sort of sad and depressed the night before. My parents had flown in from NC to see me race, and I didn’t want to disappoint them.  A small part of me, as RIDICULOUS as it sounds, thought: WHAT IF I WAS LAST!? MY PARENTS FLEW ALL THE WAY HERE TO SEE ME COME IN LAST OH GOD OH NO

(Scared Katie does not equal rational Katie)

Anyway, most of these feelings were eradicated when I woke up way the hell early the next morning. I wasn’t scared or nervous--I was so excited, and feeling awesome. So what if I was last?? So what if I was slow? I was SHUFFLING RUNNING. In a RACE.  A year earlier, if you would have asked me if I would ever run over 6 miles of my own volition I would have laughed in your face, or said something snarky like “Only if there was a cheeseburger running in front of me” (of which I still would run after that cheeseburger, btw).  Even though hundreds of thousands of people run road races each year, and it’s not that big of a deal in general--our bodies are made to move, anyway--it was a VERY big deal for one Katie Lee Grosskopf. I was really proud of myself that I was even doing this race to begin with, and I was smiling as I chugged down a 5 hr energy (gross) and a peanut butter protein shake. And I was ESPECIALLY smiling when putting on this AWESOME SHIRT I MADE FOR MAY AND I TO WEAR DURING THE RACE.

(We sort of have a running joke between us that what really brings us together is a love of eating, especially...eating meat. Vegetarians everywhere may hate us, but at least we’ll full and happy.)

So, with May as a t-bone steak and me as a chicken drumstick on my chest, I picked up the zipcar with May on board as well and we drove out to Long Island where we managed to make excellent time, not get lost, bag check our stuff, use the portajohns, etc.


By this time there were tons of runners everywhere, stretching out, talking with each other, and saying words of encouragement--it was a really great feeling! I chose to run because not only is it free (FRUGALITY WINS AGAIN), it’s mostly a solitary endeavor--the thought of a gym makes me dry heave. However, I’m guessing that it’s because running is something you do alone, it’s a great comfort to be surrounded with people who I’m fairly sure have felt the same as me at one point or another--that whatever stressful day you had can be eradicated with a few miles of feet to the pavement, to the soundtrack of your own breath keeping time and pace. It was the closest thing I’d ever felt to being on a team sport, only my team was the THOUSANDS of people who showed up to run the 10K that day!

The race began with FIREWORKS. WHOA I WAS SO MAD I DID NOT HAVE MY CAMERA ON ME, IT WAS SIMULTANEOUSLY AWESOME AND RIDICULOUS.  It took us nearly 10 minutes just to get across the start line there were so many corrals of people in line ahead of us (the lines for the portajohns were...kind of long).  Because May is a rockstar runner, and I didn’t want to ruin her time completely, we had agreed beforehand that we would run the first three miles together, and then we’d meet each other at the finish line. I warned her that I may have to walk--I had run the 10K before in practice, but with a couple of walking breaks.

To my surprise, I was still running when May and I parted ways (aka, May left me in the dust, lol!) and I was STILL running until I hit about the 4 mile mark!!  I HAD NEVER RUN SO FAR CONTINUOUSLY IN MY LIFE IT WAS CRAZYTALK.  The rush of all the people around you running, the encouraging onlookers and cheerstations, and probably the adrenaline that was pumping through my body propelled me for longer than I had ever run before!

Around the 4 mile mark, my legs started to shake a little bit so I thought I’d be smooth and take a cup of water from the hydration station and drink it WHILE I WAS RUNNING.

THIS WAS A TERRIBLE MISTAKE.

I guess this gets easier in practice, but uhhhh I will never try to drink water and run at the same time because I got into a coughing fit that stalled me for at least half a minute, I felt like such a doofus, lol!! I can barely type this blog and listen to music at the same time, I JUST CANNOT MULTITASK. So, I noted that for future reference, and after a severe and embarrassing coughing fit, I righted myself, drank water while being stationary, and continued the race.

I stopped to walk once around the five mile mark, but picked up again about a half mile later when I heard all the screams and cheers from the finish line! EVERYBODY WAS SO LOUD AND IT WAS GREAT.  There were a few other runners I met along the trail that were so encouraging and really helped push me to the finish line--when it was in sight, another shot of adrenaline pushed me forward and I summoned every last bit of energy I could muster to sprint to the end, of which the professional race photographers caught in all it’s horrifically embarrassing glory:

May calls the second one “helicopter arms.” >.< I 100% do not remember doing that with my arms and now I know definitely what NOT to do at my next race, haha!

My parents also caught my chubby ass as it closed in the final 20 yards.  They were at the finish line and seeing them there almost made me tear up like the giant sap that I am.

I thought a lot about when I started to gain weight when I was in third grade, and how my brother and his “popular” friends relentlessly teased me through elementary and middle school, until the breaking point where we went to separate high schools. I thought about how upset I would get when my roommates in college would get ready for a night out and could borrow clothes from each other’s closets, except for mine. I thought about how I never bought clothes for years and years because I was always so afraid to find out if I had gone up another size.

And when I was approaching the finish line, and I saw my mom and stepdad there with their cameras out, waving to me, it was a kind of confirmation that even though I was so sad and miserable in the past, it was just that--in the past.  It didn’t even matter anymore.  

Our bodies are such amazing things that, when we take ownership of them, give back more to us than we probably deserve. I thought about how much I had taken it for granted before, and now that I’m taking care of it, really learning how to love it, it is responding in kind, and I’m more grateful for it now than I ever thought I could be.

I’m so grateful to May who opened me up to this amazing thing, this running thing, which scared me shitless at the start, but is something that has truly affected every aspect of my life, my self-image, and my self-worth. I’m not exactly at the finish line of where I want to be, but I know where I have to go, what steps I need to take.

And I will run to get there.